Incarnating the Gospel: Proximity and Presence

The Incarnation is about God’s presence on earth. God became a man. He got close to us. He did not stay up in heaven watching from a distance. He “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Phil 2:7). God came near. He “tabernacled among us” (John 1:14).

To incarnate the gospel, Christians must live within the culture they are trying to reach. This requires proximity—getting close to people. They must learn the language. They may adopt cultural ways. It has always been a struggle to understand how pastors in America could choose to live outside of the community they were trying to reach. Without living among them, how can they hope to relate to them.

The late Dr. William Lane said, “When God gives a gift, He wraps it in a person.” The incarnation is best understood as the “Gift of Presence.” That is God’s gift to His lost creation, revealing the very nature of God Himself (Heb. 3:1). The “Gift of Presence” is God “pitching his tent” among us, and revealing Himself to us. (Logan and Cole, Beyond Church Planting, p 21)

When believers become Jesus-like wherever they are going, it is an incredible gift. They give the presence of Jesus. Incarnating the gospel is about being the presence of Jesus everywhere.

Author

Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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